Hey all, Shilpen here! Just checking in from India. The office was somewhat quiet today with most of the Setco employees relaxing at home on their day off (the typical work week goes from Wednesday-Monday). We still kept to our schedule and had a productive day in Dolatpura. We worked with our family partner, Sumitraben, to build our newest stove prototype.
The new prototype we built today had features similar to our previous prototypes, however, the newest iteration included two cook surfaces venting through the same chimney.
The two-surface design was developed in Michigan after getting feedback from our family partners from our regular communications. The process of building the stove as always was an enjoyable experience because we finally got to see our design take shape in its intended location. The build drew some attention from some of the distant family members and allowed for team members who were not as involved with the build to work on developing our relationships with the community and partners.
After the build we moved to some of the shaded areas and engaged the younger kids with Frisbees and cricket so Garima and Gayatriben could have a more serious conversation with Sumitraben about the costs associated with the stove and the logistical problems she has with getting the material to build the stoves.
Discovering these issues are exactly what we hoped to uncover in our trip as face-to-face communication is extremely effective and helpful in progressing our projects. Garima also had a great learning experience as she assumed the role of lead female translator during her interview with Sumitraben. The chain of translation had a third dimension during the interview as Garima would talk to Gayatriben in Hindi who would translate it to Gujaratri to Sumitraben after which Gayatriben would translate Sumitraben’s response to Hindi for Garima who would finally take notes in English. Kudos to Garima for taking on this ornate process for translation and coming out with a clear report of the interview for the team.
After a long morning in Dolatpura we returned to the seemingly ghost office of the Setco Foundation and got a chance to catch a breath after our exciting and tiring stove build. In the afternoon we planned for our video call with the full team back in the US tomorrow and reevaluated and refocused our goals and plans for the remainder of the trip. We also were able to open a more forward communication route as we broke through some of the awkwardness that comes with bring a team of five new travelers to Dolatpura. Personally, I saw our partners engage more directly with other team members as they began to feel more comfortable with the new faces. Of course, I receive tons of inquiries about Erica, Kaylla, Sai, John, Mitchell, Zoha, and other past travelers. All said, the shorter trip has led to significantly longer days but I feel both sub-teams are making good progress towards achieving our goals.